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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Majorette Volkswagen Amarok and 2005 Toyota Hilux



Majorette is not known for making pickups despite having a few construction equipment in the line for special sets.  It's a surprise that they started to recently make American pickups in their line as most of their pickups in the past have been based on worldwide trucks, some of which not sold here, and even a Chevy El Camino.  Here are two examples that represent the midsize pickups in the current decade, one a well-known name that appears on an entirely new model, while the other is all new from Volkswagen a name not associated with pickups.








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The Hilux diverged from the American pickup in 1995 when the US got the slightly larger and softer Tacoma.  In other countries the Hilux soilders on.  When the seventh-generation arrived in 2004 the Hilux was all new from the ground up and shared some design aspects with the also-all new 2005 Toyota Tacoma.  The Hilux has the softer lines with a much different look than the Tacoma.  Inside the interior is more car-like with a dashboard that would look right at home in a Camry.  The powertrains ranged from gas I-4 to V6, along with diesel I-4's.  A 3.0L DOHC I-4 diesel produces 162 horsepower, while a 4.0L DOHC V6 produces 228 horsepower, all through a 5-speed manual transmission.  The transfer case can now be selected by a rotary knob and unlike older Hilux 4x4 models this 4x4 would still be very formidable on the road.  While at Volkswagen the sole pickup was based on the rabbit and was ill-advised for any heavy-duty hauling during the 1980's.  With pickups again gaining popularity with more manufacturers getting all new platforms during the 2000's it was time for Volkswagen to make things right.  The Amarok was released in 2010 on its own platform with a size that was a bit larger than competitors like the Hilux.  Styling is inline with other Volkswagen products with more hard than soft corners.  The interior also features a typical Volkswagen layout but the materials are more on the hard plastic side since this is after all a work truck.  The engine layouts are mostly diesel I-4's, with the largest a 2.0 that produces 177 horsepower and 310 Ib-ft of torque through a six-speed manual or eight speed automatic transmission.  Volkswagen has no plans to import the Amarok to the U.S. but is considering production plans here for the next-generation model.







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The Hilux has been in the Majorette line for about a decade, yet trying to find a nice stock one is difficult as all of the recent versions have shifted over to the rescue side.  This white version was in rough shape with some paint chips and missing chrome on the wheels, but otherwise it still looks good (and got it at a resonable cost).  The front has flow-back headlights (more detailed on the stock versions) with center grille bar that contains the Toyota logo.  The sides have integrated running boards, crew cab bodystyle, and a rather large lightbar on the rescue versions.  At the rear the taillights are large and round at the expense of the classic TOYOTA badge on the tailgate (replaced with smaller badges at the top of the tailgate).  Also there is a cargo bed that is pretty deep despite the lack of length due to the expanded cab, while on the bumper there is a trailer hitch for towing any additional trailers.  The base is now plastic, does not have much detail but does offer a working suspension.  However, in the handling test the suspension proved to provide too much body roll in the turns as its tuned to a softer setting.





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Now on to the Amarok: it looks pretty impressive in the brown color and starts off with a bolder look that includes square headlights that are part of the windows, a larger grille in black with VW logo, and lower grille with foglights.  The sides of the truck offer the same integrated running board and smooth profile as the Hilux but with a taller beltline that is more noticeable in the bed area.  The rear has large taillights, VW logo, a much deeper bed (despite being smaller in length than the Hilux), and one of the niftiest features: a trailer hitch that can slide back into the bumper when not in use.  Be warned that it takes a strong finger to slide it back and out with the lever on the base.  The hood opens up to show off the engine details and without a typical engine cover the engine bay looks rather crowded for a four-cylinder diesel motor.







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Despite a somewhat leaning profile the handling was much more better than the Hilux with little body roll and smooth transitions, and it has a working suspension.  The interior is much more polished with an upright dashboard, seating for five, center console where the shifters are housed, and more up-to-date radio than the Hilux's rounded dashboard design that is pretty dated compared to the Amarok.  Both of these trucks are the current workhorses of midsize pickups that are very familiar with to those outside of the U.S., but now there's competition with two larger American full-size pickups now arriving to the Majorette line.







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